German Of The Day: Gesichtskondom

That means face condom.

German

You know, face mask? I don’t make this up that German allows you to make this stuff up. It’s a popular national pastime.

Pandemic Inspires More Than 1,200 New German Words.

Like English, German also offers the possibility of combining of words, especially nouns. The resulting noun chains in English typically feature spaces or hyphens between the different elements, while German ones normally appear as one word. The German penchant for creating complex compound nouns has long been the stuff of comedy. Mark Twain devotes part of his essay on The Awful German Language to these “curiosities,” and many people are familiar with ones like “der Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän” (the Danube Steamship Navigation Company Captain).

 

It Will Be A Long Debate

Generally, for as long as there is nothing left to debate about.

Migrants

When “Germany” debates something, especially “terminology,” they will do so until the cows come home. And then leave home again. And then come back home again. And so forth.

For 15 years now, the term used by German statisticians and politicians alike to denote foreigners and their descendants has been “people with a migration background.”

That was the label given to people who weren’t born into German citizenship. And to people whose mothers or fathers were not born German citizens. Today, that applies to a quarter of the population.

After two years of discussing how Germany could better acknowledge its status as a society of immigration, a SPECIALIST commission of 24 politicians and academics appointed by the government has submitted its report to Chancellor Angela Merkel. One of its recommendations is to stop using the terms “migration background” or “immigrant background.”

People should use the term “immigrants and their descendants,” commission chair Derya Caglar said. “In my case, this would mean that I am no longer the migrant, but rather the daughter or descendant of migrants.”

German Of The Day: Zigeunersauce

You may think that the rest of the world hates us, my fellow Americans – and indeed they do – but they also blindly copy anything and everything braindead we do.

Sauce

Take Zigeunersauce, for instance. That means “Gypsy sauce.” And because the word Gypsy, like the names Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima and yada, yada you get where I’m going with this, is one of those names we do not speak unless we are racists, it can no longer be used as a product name here in good-old Germany. The firm Knorr will now be calling their racist Gypsy sauce Hungarian-Style Bell Pepper Sauce instead.

“Same great taste, half the racism!”

In ein paar Wochen finden Sie diese als „Paprikasauce Ungarische Art“ im Regal.

 

German Word Of The Day: Unwort

That means un-word or taboo word. Which brings us to the German un-word of the year 2019: Klimahysterie.

Hysteria

That means “climate hysteria” (ín German it’s one word).

A “language critical” jury has selected climate hysteria as the taboo word of the year 2019. The rationale behind the decision is that it “slanders the climate protection movement and its efforts.”

Yes, as a matter of fact it does. But this wasn’t a “political critical” decision, it was a “language critical” one, right? The Brain Police are everywhere, people. Everywhere, I tell you…

Eine sprachkritische Jury hat “Klimahysterie” zum Unwort des Jahres 2019 gekürt, Ausdruck würden “Klimaschutzbemühungen und die Klimaschutzbewegung diffamiert und Debatten diskreditiert”, hieß es zur Begründung.

German Of The Day: Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung

That’s a beauty, isn’t it? Some prefer using the word Tempolimit instead. To save time. Both mean “speed limit,” however. And no, it can’t happen here.

Speed

A measure to introduce a 130 km/h (roughly 81 mph) speed limit on the network of motorways that has crisscrossed the country since the ‘30s was introduced by the German Green Party was rejected on Thursday by a majority of Bundestag members. Germany is currently the only country in Europe with stretches of unrestricted motorways, with neighboring countries conforming at the very least to the 130 km/h limit similar to the one proposed.

Bundestag lehnt Tempolimit auf Autobahnen ab.

German Of The Day: Aneinander vorbeireden

That means to talk at cross purposes. In this case when German politicians use the same word in different ways – gehören (meaning both to belong to and ought to belong to).

Islam

In an interview with the German newspaper BILD Seehofer said: “Islam is not a part of Germany. Germany has been influenced by Christianity. This includes free Sundays, church holidays and rituals such as Easter, Pentecost and Christmas. However, the Muslims living in Germany obviously do belong to Germany.”

This statement conflicted with the position of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel said, even though Germany has been influenced mainly by Christianity and Judaism, there are more than four million Muslims in the country, they “belong to Germany and so does their religion.”

Hey, depending upon how you look at it, Germany does not belong to Germany. Neither does Christianity belong to Germany. Let’s not even start with Judaism. So I think Horst Seehofer is right on the money when he says that Islam does not belong to Germany, either. What’s the big deal? We’re all not in this together, folks.

Da muss man schon präzise sagen, was mit dem Ausdruck “gehört” eigentlich gemeint sein soll. Das kann man ja als schlichte Bestandsaufnahme oder Feststellung meinen: Man gehört zu einer bestimmten Familie oder einem Verein an. Man kann es aber auch so verstehen wie bei der Formulierung: Kinder gehören zeitig ins Bett. Dann bekommt die Aussage eine Sollens-Komponente und erhält eine ganz andere Bedeutung. Und drittens könnte die Frage angesprochen sein, ob der Islam die Bundesrepublik Deutschland in ähnlicher Weise geprägt hat wie das Christentum. Je nachdem, mit welchem Akzent man das Wort “gehört” verwendet, bekommt dieser Satz einen anderen Sinn. Diese Unterschiede werden in der politischen Diskussion leider nicht beachtet, und deswegen redet man munter aneinander vorbei. Das ist vorhersehbar und langweilig.

“Overwhelming And Sustained Public Presence”

That’s what the English term fake news has in Germany. And that’s why it just won Anglicism of the year 2016 (that’s bigger than the Oscars over here, folks).

Fake

Fake (pronounced “fack” as in Fack ju Göhte) and news (pronounced “noose”) is more than the sum of its parts. Much more. It fills a gap in German vocabulary that would otherwise not be filled. That is, unless you filled this gap with fake German news, a term for which there is no proper German term. This is because all the news here is fake, always has been (state-run TV, know what I’m saying?). But it’s all good clean fun and nobody gets hurt feelings because Germany is a benevolent all-intrusive kinda state, right? Not always has been, but still.

„Fake News“ wird im Englischen den Angaben zufolge etwa seit dem Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts verwendet: Damals seien bewusste Falschmeldungen in Zeitungen ab und an so bezeichnet worden.

German Bad Word Of The Year 2016: Volksverräter

That means traitor, or traitor of the people. And it’s actually a non-word or un-word of the year, not just a bad word of the year. Although it’s all three, I guess.

Traitor

And if you look carefully at that photo you will see the feminine form of that word. Just in case you were wondering.

Each year, German linguists elect one word as the ‘Unwort’ (non-word) of the year. For 2016, the winner was a term meaning ‘traitor’ which has strong Nazi connotations.

Das Wort sei ein “Erbe von Diktaturen“, sagte sie. In der Begründung der Jury heißt es, Anhänger von Pegida, AfD und ähnlichen Initiativen würden den Begriff als Vorwurf gegenüber Politikern verwenden. Er sei undifferenziert und diffamierend und würde “das ernsthafte Gespräch und damit die für Demokratie notwendigen Diskussionen in der Gesellschaft” abwürgen.

German Of The Day/Year: Postfaktisch

That means post-factual – and has just been selected Germany’s word of the year 2016.

Postfaktisch

“This awkward adjective describes the development in which public debates are defined more and more by temperament and feelings than by facts. This may not be a term used in everyday speech, the experts admit, but crucial here is that it reflects central events that have taken place this year – from Brexit to Trump.”

Das sperrige Adjektiv beschreibt die Entwicklung, dass öffentliche Debatten zunehmend von Stimmungen und Gefühlen und weniger von Fakten bestimmt werden. Dies sei zwar kein Begriff aus der Alltagssprache, räumen die Experten ein. Entscheidend sei jedoch, dass er zentrale Ereignisse des Jahres widerspiegele – von Brexit bis Trump.

Finally, A German Non-Word Of The Year For The Rest Of Us

Please, someone please have this 2015 winner introduced into the English language ASAP, please (did I say please?): Gutmensch.

Gutmensch

A Gutmensch is a do-gooder or a starry-eyed idealist. Or the term can also be seen as a blanket reproach for being “naive, dumb and worldly innocent, or being someone suffering from helper syndrome or moral imperialism.”

Or if you want a more concrete example of what this kind of non-word ailment can lead to, take a look at what’s going in in Germany right now. That’s right. The Gutmenschen are behind all of this.

Wer Gutmensch sagt, verdient sich seinen Shitstorm.